Militaria, mansion contents are star attractions at Fontaine’s in September
Fontaine’s Civil War & Militaria Auction on Sunday, Sept. 12, will feature an authentic Colt Gatling gun, which is expected to bring more than $150,000. Fontaine’s will conduct another auction Saturday, Sept. 25, featuring over 650 fresh-to-market items offered in two sessions.
Sunday’s auction will begin at 11 a.m. Eastern. The day will be packed with nearly 500 lots of firearms, swords, Civil War items, saddles, daguerreotypes, uniforms, buckles, canteens, letters, ephemera and more, to include the aforementioned Gatling gun. A replica model 1862 Gatling gun will also be sold.
The Sept. 25 sale, which begins at 10 a.m. Eastern, is an unreserved estate auction – everything sells, regardless of price. Antiques from a fine Newport, R.I., Ocean Avenue estate – name withheld per request of the heirs – will be transported to the gallery in Pittsfield.
The contents of the estate represent an array of silver, Russian enamel, period furniture, paintings, Mettlach steins, Tiffany pieces, cloisonne, carved jade, Oriental rugs, European and Asian porcelains and more.
In the Sept. 12 antique firearms auction, keen advance interest has already been expressed in the Colt Gatling gun, a Model 1875, Serial No. 135, manufactured in Hartford, Conn., in 1875. At a Fontaine’s auction held Aug. 15-16, 2009, a Colt Model 1883 .45 caliber Gatling gun sold for $172,500.
The Gatling gun was named for the inventor, Richard J. Gatling, and was a 19th-century precursor to the modern-day machine gun. The example set to cross the block Sept. 12 comes out of the private arms collection of Peter and Patty Murray. It comes complete with carriage, trunnion and tripod. It is expected to realize $150,000-$250,000.
The gun has enjoyed two careers of sorts. Its first incarnation, of course, was as a weapon for the U.S. Army. That began when the gun was shipped by the Gatling Gun Co., a subsidiary of Colt’s Patent Fire Arms Mfg. Co. Inc., from Hartford on Oct. 13, 1875. The weapon was also used by MGM Studios in movies from the 1930s to the 1970s, where it fired “5-in-1” blanks.
The replica model 1862 Gatling gun, while not an original, carries a handsome estimate of $17,500-$25,000. Only 13 model 1862 Gatling guns were originally produced, and all of those were destroyed in a warehouse fire in Cincinnati after the Civil War. The replica to be sold was reproduced from the original plans by master cannon maker Gary Scott of Indiana.
Vintage rifles will also be available at the sale. Expected top lots include a rare and massive flintlock rampart gun with a 76-inch round barrel, about 8 feet long and weighing 60-70 pounds (est. $4,000-$8,000); an excellent example of a Winchester Model 1886 extra lightweight rifle with a 22-inch rapid taper barrel, made in 1902 (est. $4,000-$5,000); and a nice Model 1817 U.S. flintlock rifle, .58 caliber, with 35-inch round barrel (est. $2,500-$3,500).
Other rifles expected to do well include a nice percussion target rifle by A.P. Wood of New York City, .38 caliber with a 32 1/2-inch octagonal barrel (est. $2,500-$3,500); a Civil War-era carbine marked “Spencer Repeating Rifle Co., Boston, Mass., Pat’d March 6, 1860” (est. $2,000-$3,000); and one lot consisting of five pieces attributed to the 141st Regiment of New York, to include a Belgian copy of a British pattern 1853 Enfield rifle (est. $1,500-$2,000).
Single pistols will feature a magnificent engraved and gold-filled Colt Model 1860 Army revolver, in excellent condition and with all numbers matching (est. $3,000-$5,000); a cased Robert Jones five-shot double-action percussion pistol, made in 1864 (est. $3,000-$4,000); and a Starr Arms Co. 1863 Confederate Army .44 caliber six-shot Army revolver (est. $1,500-$2,500).
Pistol sets always delight the crowd. Two pair guaranteed to get paddles waving are a matched pair of large-bore flintlock sea service pistols, .69 caliber with 9.25-inch barrels, made circa 1812 (est. $2,000-$4,000); and a pair of D. Egg, London, percussion dueling pistols, .62 caliber with 5 1/2-inch octagonal barrels in a nice walnut case (est. $4,000-$6,000).
Military coats and frocks will include an enlisted man’s gray shell U.S. New York Regiment militia frock coat, circa 1860, in good, clean condition (est. $10,000-$15,000); a Civil war-period dark blue New York State 71st Regiment swallow-tailed full dress coat (est. $4,000-$5,000); and a Civil War-era Louisville legion-style long blue wool frock (est. $2,500-$3,500).
Swords will include two examples by N.P. Ames, Springfield, Mass. The first is a Model 1832 artillery short sword with scabbard, frog and belt (est. $3,000-$4,000). The second is a circa 1840-50 militia staff officer’s sword with 31-inch blade and scabbard, both signed (est. $1,500-$2,000). Also sold will be a lot consisting of an unmarked Confederate sword with brass guard and pommel, an English percussion revolver by Robert Adams, London, and a military letter from a Capt. Robins to Lt. Col. George H. Woods, dated 9/17/1863 (est. $2,000-$4,000).
Additional militaria will feature a metal-bodied Queen’s lancer drum, 10 1/2 inches by 15 1/2 inches (est. $3,000-$5,000); a Confederate leather belt with buckle and hand-made cartridge box (est. $3,000-$4,000); a small tintype portrait of Gen. George Armstrong Custer (est. $2,500-$3,500); a 1/3-scale model of a brass 6-pounder Civil War-era cannon (est. $1,750-$3,500); and a William Muir & Co., Windsor Locks, Conn., Model 1861 rifle-musket (est. $2,000-$3,000).
Rounding out the day’s anticipated top lots are a German SS Storm Trooper dagger with black wooden handle, brown metal scabbard and leather belt hanger (est. $1,750-$2,250); a silver-hilted German hanger, circa 1750 (est. $2,200-$2,400); a rare, pre-Civil War Rienly officer’s leather saddle, Model 1848 (est. $2,000-$2,500); and a 39-piece collection of powder horns, flasks and shot pouches, all mounted on a piece of pegboard (est. $1,500-$3,000).
For details call (413) 448-8922 and ask to speak to John Fontaine. Or, e-mail him at email@example.com. For more info, log on to www.fontainesauction.net.
View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to www.LiveAuctioneers.com.
ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE